Hands On With the Pocketbook Color
Pocketbook’s newest ereader arrived on my doorstep yesterday. I’ve had a day to play with it, and while I am impressed with its speed and svelte design, I am not sold on its main feature.
The Pocketbook Color features the new Kaleido E-ink screen, and this screen tech is a vast improvement on E-ink’s two previous generations of color screens. Where the previous color E-ink screens were cursed with a very slow refresh rate and a muddy gray undertone, the new Kaleido screens are capable of displaying up to 4096 colors. The new screens have a white undertone, not gray.
Furthermore, the Pocketbook Color can refresh the screen at a speed that matches that of the Kindle or any other leading ereader. It is so fast that I wish I could play a video on it just to see what happens; I think it might actually be able to play video at 30 fps (or at least close to that speed).
I was in fact testing the Pocketbook Color with a gallery of astronomy photos that I have been saving for wallpapers on my smartphone, and I found that this ereader could refresh the screen – in color – at a rate faster than I had believed possible. I’m not going to claim that it’s as fast as an LCD or LED screen, but it’s in same the ballpark.
You will never complain about this ereader’s speed.
Its color quality, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired.
Kaleido screens can display up to 4096 colors, but they are limited to displaying those colors at 100 ppi. On the one hand, that is significantly below the resolution of the Carta E-ink screens (300ppi), but at the same time the Kaleido screens have about the same resolution (when displaying color) as the screen on my 15″ Dell laptop.
The reason I made that comparison is that I am not one to worship stats for their own sake. I care about what screens look like when they are in front of me.
And the screen on the Pocketbook Color, well – I think the best way to describe it would be "old newsprint". It reminds me of the old, cheaply-printed periodicals I might find in an archive.
The 4096 color limitation means that the images are not as vibrant as you would see on an LCD screen. They seem rather washed out, or muted. (The colors are more vibrant than you would expect on a grayscale E-ink screen, however.)
O O O
I have to say I am torn. Yes, this is a major breakthrough, and yes, it is faster and better than any color E-ink screen we have seen before, but I am just not that thrilled with the main feature.
Given the Pocketbook Color’s overall quality, however, there is a good chance that I might be in the minority.
This ereader will be shipping soon in Europe. Retail is 199 euros.